Iconic Fragrance # 1 : Christian Dior - Eau Sauvage ( 1966 ) : Dior's Finest and Biggest Moment in Men's Fragrances
Year of Release: 1966
Perfumer: Edmond Roudnitska
Overall Perfume Notes : Bergamot, Lemon, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Oakmoss and Musk
Type: Fresh / Citrusy
Season: Spring - Summer
Occassion: Leisure / Daily / Business
Audience: Unmistakably Masculine
There have been definitive moments throughout history without which the progression of art as a medium seems inconcievable.
Within the limited sphere of art, filled with achievements and miracles, can one imagine classical music without Beethoven's Ninth and Mozart's Requiem, fiction without Joyce's Ulysses, movies without Orson Welles's Citizen Kane, Jazz without Miles Davis, On The Waterfront without Brando, etc the answer simply put is NO.
While mentioning these brightest sparks it should be noted that we are still only brushing the dust at the periphery.
The world is filled with such graceful and humbling achievements as mentioned above, and one such mesmerizing achievement to honor the world of perfumery is credited to the house of Dior, in the shape and essence of Eau Sauvage released in 1966. A truly groundbreaking fragrance.
If there ever was a pre-diluvean and ante-diluvean period in the history of modern perfumery it was the birth of Eau Sauvage.
Eau Sauvage quite simply opened and broadened the horizons for modern perfumers to experiment and innovate with the traditional structure of the cologne. Every new step in the evolution of this sacred territory is a step towards a tribute to this masterpiece. Comparisons cannot be helped. Such is the shadow casted by this giant.
A similar comparison In music can be the last bang of the piano note heard and felt in A Day In The Life by The Beatles, which catapulted modern music into unchartered territories but could never bettered.
The era of 60s was one filled with spontaneity, and what better time for an idea to be brought forth into this world than 1966, when Dior was looking for their first men's fragrance.
The herculean task was passed onto Edmond Roudnitska. Roudnitska decided to experiment with the traditional structure of the cologne by adding the much needed spicy-ness of lavender and rosemary on a masculine woody base.
The perfume opens with a citrus blast and I also a pick up a fresh lemon peel nuance in it, followed by fruity sweetness.
This opening then gives way to a solid, clean creamy sandalwood aura, which eventually transforms into a musky and oakmoss finish in the end.
On the face of it, the smell may look pretty linear, but it is still a pretty complex mixture of rebellious notes and design all gelled together with a slight headiness of 'Hedione', the jasmine based extract.
Yes, the controversial note which gives this scent its often touted sexual angle and charisma (the use is less than 3%).
It might even be the first iconic and commercial men's fragrance to use this synthetic.
There is an interesting story behind its iconic name as well.
The name of the fragrance is reputedly the result of a late arrival by Christian Dior's friend Percy Savage to Dior's home.
Dior had asked Savage to help find a name for a perfume for men. When Savage arrived, he was announced by Dior's butler as "Monsieur Sauvage"; the designer decided that "Oh, Sauvage" would be a fitting name, and the rest is history.
But this review would not do full justice to the uniqueness of this perfume if one didn't pay attention to its bottle design by Pierre Dinand.
I have felt on countless occasions the need to use this this fragrance, by just one look at the bottle, as it exudes class sophistication and uniqueness like any great piece of art.
Compare this feeling to picking up a classic book to read by just a look at its cover as it invites you in its own world.
The concise nature of the flacon and its design deems it a necessary object to be carried with oneself everywhere on the move, like a basic amenity of sorts, and this is also one of the facets of its power and greatness.
Dior created a fashion piece, a statement of sorts and made it an essential part of men's vogue and grooming without which it would become difficult for men to vouch for their masculinity and flaunt it. one just has look at its iconic ad campaigns, which portrays an animated nude man partially clad in a thin towel, holding onto an Eau Sauvage bottle as if his very life depended on it.
To end it all, Alain Delon was chosen as the face of the campaign.
As in the case of masterpieces everything ties and fits together in the concept that is Eau Sauvage.
My only humble qualm in an other wise imperfect design is the performance and sillage, which strictly speaking is average at most. Probably because of modern batches and reformulations. In my experience with this fragrance the aura of the smell lingers not more than 5 - 6 hours and projection after the first 30 - 40 minutes is nothing more than a skin scent.
These are some otherwise minor qualms in an other wise groundbreaking and genre defining fragrance, that changed the face of citrus based scents to come after it.
The Holy Grail of perfumes, any collector's collection is fatally empty without this one, grab onto it, latch onto it, if only to say that you have what it takes to be a true perfume enthusiast.
Rating : A-